FC Dallas

The first MLS team other than D.C. United to win a trophy — the 1997 U.S. Open Cup — FCD (still working on a nickname, if we’re indeed rejecting “Hoops”) haven’t won one since, though they reached the MLS Cup final in 2010.

Trophies: 1997 U.S. Open Cup

Fan personality: Stuck in traffic on the way to Frisco. Good traditions, though, dating back to the fan-created Brimstone Cup for the season winner of the once-heated Dallas-Chicago rivalry. Established another good rivalry with Houston when the Dynamo came to Texas.


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Stadium situation: The biggest knock on the Stadium Formerly Known As Pizza Hut Park has always been location — nearly 30 miles from City Hall in Dallas. Aside from that, it’s a nice complex with a centerpiece stadium that hosts the occasional College Cup or big event in addition to FCD games.

History

Competitive from Year 1, with original coach Dave Dir leveraging his knowledge of U.S. talent to draft wisely. Jason Kreis broke out as one of the league’s top scorers, Colombian Leonel Alvarez was a solid cornerstone, and Ariel Graziani joined the attack for a couple of productive years.

But the playoffs were never kind to the team then known as the Dallas Burn. They ran into Los Angeles a couple of times and lost an epic quarterfinal series with Colorado in 2002. That was the last of seven straight postseason appearances.

In 2003, the Burn left the Cotton Bowl for a temporary home at Southlake Carroll High School. That field might be nice for football under the legendary Texas Friday night lights. Not so much for summer soccer. Players burned (sorry) their feet on the field, and fans weren’t happy. The team went back to the Cotton Bowl for a season and change, then moved into their own venue in 2005. That coincided with a name change — Burn out, FC Dallas in.

Carlos Ruiz led a resurgence in the early years of the new name and new stadium, but postseason success was again elusive. Finally, in 2010, FCD dismantled Los Angeles in the semifinals and made it to the final in chilly Toronto, then lost in unlucky fashion on an extra-time own goal by top defensive prospect George John. Injuries prevented another run in 2011 and in 2012.

After 2012, up-and-coming national team player Brek Shea transferred to Stoke City, and the team finally parted with goalkeeping legend Kevin Hartman. In sublime playmaker David Ferreira they trust — if he can stay healthy.

2013 previews: MLSSoccer.com, ESPN, Soccer America, SB Nation

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